Many people are still shielding from COVID – and our research suggests their mental health is getting worse

Fri, 29 Jul 2022 20:02:41 +1000

Andrew Pam <xanni [at]>

Andrew Pam

"Shortly after the pandemic was declared in March 2020, more than 2 million
people in the UK were advised to shield in their homes because they were deemed
“clinically extremely vulnerable” to the effects of COVID-19. This included
people with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions.

With the advent of COVID vaccines and treatments, the advice to shield lapsed
in August 2021. Yet despite encouragement to reintegrate into society, many
people continued to shield in their homes. As of May 2022, 13% of people
classified as clinically vulnerable were still shielding, while 69% reported
taking extra precautions (these might include social distancing or wearing a

We know the psychological impact of extended social isolation is significant.
This is compounded by the effects of restricted access to medicines, healthcare
and basic supplies.

Research we did during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020 confirmed
that beyond being physically vulnerable, those shielding were also the most
vulnerable psychologically. We found that people who were classified as
clinically extremely vulnerable were more depressed, more generally anxious,
and more anxious about their health than the general population.

In our new research, we surveyed a group of shielders a year later to see how
they were faring. This time, we also included participants who were shielding
other people – for example, partners or close relatives of people who are

In both studies, participants were spread across the UK, mostly women,
predominately white and had an average age of 40."

Some of us are shielding in Australia and elsewhere, too.

Via Violet Blue’s Pandemic Roundup: July 7, 2022

       *** Xanni ***
--               Andrew Pam                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu            Partner, Glass Wings               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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